PDT Sports Contributor
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – With three of the first five contests in the American Legion Region V Tournament having been decided by one run apiece, it is safe to say that Region V has provided some exciting action that would rival any region in the State of Ohio.
The Waverly Post 142 Shockers were able to play in one of those thrilling contests today as the Shockers came back from a 4-run deficit in the first inning to tie the contest in the seventh inning. However, a go-ahead knock by Post 757’s Layne Stockham in the top of the ninth inning provided to be the winning run as Post 142 saw their season coming to an end on a 6-3 double play in a 7-6 loss to the Chillicothe Post 757 Colts at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe.
However, Post 142 coach Jonathan Teeters was happy with his team’s effort and said that the Shockers didn’t quit.
“It was a really tough game, but I’m very proud of these guys,” Teeters said. “They’ve got nothing to hang their heads on. We competed until the last out and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.
“We showed a lot of discipline out there at the plate today. We’re one of those senior-laden, older teams and we have a lot of experienced guys who show that kind of discipline regularly.”
The Colts would start off the contest by sending eight batters to the plate, and the first three batters of the contest – Jacob Kellough, Nat Mavis, and Trent Downs – all reached base, with Kellough and Mavis scoring on an error by Dylan Shockley.
Three batters later, Lucas Sarver came through for the Colts. The Chillicothe Huntington standout brought in Downs from second base, and Caleb Price then capped off the inning for Post 757 by bringing in Sarver to put the Colts up by a 4-0 tally.
Post 142 struck back with a run bottom of the first inning as Pierce Knisley to drove in Garrett Carmichael from third by hitting into a 6-3 groundout.
The Shockers added two more runs in the bottom of the second inning as Shockley’s triple brought in Nathan Parks. With two outs in the inning, a wild pitch by Sarver allowed Shockley to come home without a throw and cut the Post 757 lead to one run.
The Colts came right back with a run in both the third and fourth innings. Caleb Price and Kellough drove home runs for Post 757, with the latter run coming off of Kellough’s triple.
Post 142 one-upped Post 757 by driving in two runs in the fifth inning, and adding another run in the sixth to tie the game.
In the fifth, Carmichael hit a ball to Nolan Taylor, who went to the plate with the throw from his shortstop position. The throw sailed wide of the bag and allowed Issac Dixon to score from third base.
Zack Jordan then produced an RBI of his own by hitting into a 4-3 groundout, which brought Sky Oliver in from third base.
The sixth inning saw Issac Dixon utilize the right center field gap to drive home a run. Shockley scored all the way from first base to record a triple and tie the contest at six runs apiece.
Over the next two innings, both teams were able to get runners on base but could not push any runs across. Heading into the final inning, the score was still knotted up at six. In fact, through eight and two-thirds, it looked like the Shockers were going to get out of the top of the ninth unscathed.
However, a well-hit ground ball (which was fielded cleanly by Carmichael) was overthrown, which allowed Downs to move over to second on the error.
That error turned out to be all that the Colts needed to take control of the contest, as Stockham drove in Downs with a two-out single to right field. Post 757 took a 7-6 lead.
The Shockers had no trouble in making the game interesting as a single by Carmichael, a 1-3 sacrifice by Jordan, and another single by Brady Knittel had Post 142 in business with runners at the corners and just one out in the frame, with the cleanup hitter, Tyler Nartker, next in the order.
Nartker then shot a ball that looked to be destined for a base hit as it went past the pitcher and hit the second base bag. However, Taylor made amends for his error earlier in the game. He fielded the ball on the hop, stepped on second to get the force out and fired to first base, where Stockham stretched out far enough to field the ball cleanly while keeping his foot on the basepath. The hard-charging Nartker just missed beating out the throw by an eyelash. The play ended the game and Waverly’s season.
In its first game of the day, Post 142 scored 10 of the game’s final 11 runs to take a 10-4 come-from-behind victory over Post 129. Post 142 was able to put up those 10 runs on a whopping 17 hits – six of them coming in the eighth inning alone.
After two scoreless innings of play, Post 129 struck first in the top half of the third as Cameron Spangler’s sacrifice fly scored Isaiah Liggins from third base.
Hillsboro then added two more runs in the fourth as Joseph Wilson came around to score on a Jared Halley double. Halley then took advantage of an overthrow by Shocker catcher Dylan Shockley to score the third run of the game.
The Post 142 bats would not stay silent for long. In fact, the Shockers showed that they had the fight to match Post 129’s output, and then some.
Waverly began its charge in the bottom half of the fourth inning as they answered the two runs that Post 129 scored in the top half of the inning. Levi Jenkins brought home Nathan Parks from second with a single. After Jenkins advanced to second on a dropped fly ball by Spangler, a second dropped fly ball by Hildebrandt allowed the Otterbein College signee to come home from second and cut the Post 129 lead to a single run.
Both teams would hit a lull in the fifth inning, but Post 142 bounced back with two runs in the bottom half of the sixth as a bases-loaded triple by Tyler Nartker scored Garrett Carmichael and Pierce Knisley and gave the Shockers their first lead of the contest.
Post 129 struck back with a run of its own in the top half of the seventh as Zach Cox’s single scored Wilson to tie the contest at 4, but Sky Oliver’s double off of the right field fence in the bottom of the inning scored Jenkins to give the Shockers the lead for good.
Waverly then followed that run up with a game-breaking set of runs in the bottom half of the eighth, as four Shockers came across to score in the frame. Eleven batters came to the plate, with Tyler Shortridge’s pinch-hit two-RBI double being the biggest of the six hits that sealed the 10-4 victory for the Shockers.
Many American Legion teams have to deal with a great amount of turnover, regardless of the team’s won-loss record. However, Teeters says that the Shockers will return several players from this year’s version of the Post 142 squad.
“I’ve got several guys that will be with our program for a fourth year in 2015,” Teeters said. “Those are the guys that you go with, win or lose.”
“… The seniors gave it all they had today, so that’s all I can ask for.”